Posted 26 Aug 2012
I couldn’t sleep 3 nights ago, possibly due to a strong filter coffee at lunchtime! We visited Beckworth Emporium for lunch, which was most welcome, but the coffee (though delicious!) probably overdosed me on caffeine. Even though earlier in the day we went for our longest road run ever ( 6.9 miles) & we had a busy day’s activities, I went to bed expecting to sleep easily all night… but it was not to be, for me at least.
Regarding Beckworth Emporium… I’m always impressed with the staff (number of, & friendliness) & the whole experience of visiting this garden centre & cafe/restaurant. There isn’t really anywhere quite like it around here. What often stands out to me is the clever marketing & branding going one quietly & surely in the background. I like a place that “knows itself”; what it is, what it isn’t, what it strives for, what it’s brand message is, who its customers are, & who it serves. There seems to be shrewd, inventive, decisive, clear branding & marketing going on behind the Beckworth Emporium centre, which stands out. I think I aspire to that same level of certainty in regards to my own efforts at marketing & branding Bible Cartoons. Certainly I strive to figure out how to “reach” more potential customers, whilst trying to figure out what those customers want from me. Currently I am trying to determine my blog “voice” style & how to “be myself” in the blog, which is all about authenticity, whilst keeping the fun, light-heated tone. Quite a balancing act! If only I could find the definitive way to reach more customers & provide what they want.
Anyway… back to the story… 3 nights ago I lay awake thinking about life & found my mind turning towards God, which happens a lot at night, when all is still… except my mind. My conclusion was that the cross of Jesus is everything. I’ve read before that it even splits history (in B.C. & A.D.) which a pretty cool way to suggest the essential & unavoidable influence of the cross on every aspect of… well, pretty much everything!
One of the things I concluded in my musings was that many, many things which God provides for our good, can & are counterfeited by Satan, to harm or enslave us. For example, God gives us technology to help us & Satan corrupts it, intending to make us slaves to it, like over-dosing on the internet, TV, smartphone use, etc. God gives us medicines to cure our diseases & Satan manages to get people addicted to it (drug-taking.) God provides us with relationships to encourage & comfort us & Satan turns some of them into co-dependence, abuse, etc.
But there is one thing which Satan can not corrupt, change, mutate or counterfeit for his evil uses & that is the cross of Jesus. That’s because, at the cross, Jesus sacrificed his life for each & every one of us. That sacrifice paid for our sins & opened up the way for us to have meaningful, intimate, eternal relationship with God the Father once more. That open & wholesome relationship with God is something which sin always damages & prevents. Sacrifice for the sake of others is something Satan would never want to be involved in. I doubt whether he even understands it, & certainly Satan’s self-centred, prideful nature would never aspire to self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. That is why Satan can not do anything about the cross of Jesus: it is outside his knowledge, experience, strategy & purpose.
I’m not one of those Christians who “bashes” Satan either. I believe Satan was created (by God) with the same free-will we humans possess. That means Satan had the same opportunity to either serve God (as he did originally) or to serve himself, which he is eternally engaged in now. In deciding to serve himself, Satan now tries to get people to change their worship away from God & towards himself. But even in doing that, I believe Satan is merely doing what God knew he would do. God is not surprised by anything! Now Satan does an important job: he provides us with a legitimate alternative to following God. Truly we have freedom of will: we can choose to follow God or follow Satan. Some people would say that they don’t follow anyone, or else they follow themselves, but I believe that this is actually the same thing. Unless you are actively following & worshipping God, then any alternative pursuit (though it may not seem like it to the person in question) is actually a matter of following Satan. I believe it really is as black-and-white as that.
The great news is, we all have the chance, at any point in our lives, to turn away from pursuing our own goals (which is really the same thing as following Satan) & choosing instead to become a follower & worshipper of God. Right up until the moment we die, we have that choice before us… how great is that?! We are never beyond hope.
For me (& countless other millions of Christians) it is GREAT & VERY reassuring to know that we have already made our choice & we are actively following God. It was, & is, at the cross of Jesus the Christ that I found the true meaning of life. At the cross I came to realise my need of a personal saviour, & I have not been disappointed. Now I am saved, & I have an eternal destiny to fulfil. When I die, I know I will be going to live eternally with Jesus the Christ in heaven. There is amazing peace & security in that.
And anyone, at any point in their life, can have exactly the same security & certainty that I possess now. All they have to do is confess their sin, repent of it (turn away from it) & accept their need of a saviour. Then pray a simple prayer & ask Jesus into your life. That’s it… then you are a Christian, with exactly the same certain hope, & privileges of sonship that I have. Cool!
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